Cracking the Credit Code: The Ultimate Guide to Decoding Your Credit Score

Your credit score is one of the most important numbers in your financial life. It affects everything from your ability to get a loan or credit card to the interest rates you’ll pay on those loans or cards. Understanding how your credit score is calculated can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! Join us as we explore all of the questions you might have for decoding your credit score.  
credit report example showing credit score and rating
Written by 

What Is a Credit Score? 

Your FICO credit score is a number that ranges from 300 to 850 and is calculated based on the information in your credit report. The higher your credit score, the better your creditworthiness, and the more likely you are to be approved for loans and credit cards with lower interest rates. 

What Factors Impact Your Credit Score? 

Your credit score is impacted by several factors, including your payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, types of credit, and new credit.  
  • Payment history: This refers to your record of payments made on time, missed payments, or late payments, and is the most significant factor in determining your credit score. 
  • Credit utilization: A measure of how much of your available credit you are currently using. High credit utilization can negatively impact your credit score. 
  • Length of credit history: This refers to the age of your oldest account, the age of your newest account, and the average age of all your accounts. 
  • Types of credit: The different types of credit you have include credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, etc. 
  • New credit: This refers to new credit accounts opened recently. 

How Can You Decode Your Credit Report? 

Your credit report is a detailed record of your credit history, including your credit accounts, payment history, credit inquiries, and public records. It is essential to review your credit report periodically to ensure that the information in it is accurate and up to date. You are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once a year: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. 
Here’s How to Decode Your Credit Report: 
  • Check your credit report for any errors, such as incorrect account information, late payments that you didn’t make, or accounts that don’t belong to you. If you find any errors, you can dispute them with the credit bureau. 
  • Look for any negative information on your credit report, such as missed or late payments, bankruptcies, or foreclosures. Negative information can stay on your credit report for up to seven years. 
  • Check your credit utilization to see how much of your available credit you are using. High credit utilization can negatively impact your credit score. 

How Can You Improve Your Credit Score? 

Improving your credit score takes time and effort, but it is worth it in the long run. Here are some tips for improving your credit score: 
  • Pay your bills on time: Payment history is the most significant factor in determining your credit score, so it’s essential to pay your bills on time. 
  • Lower your credit utilization: High credit utilization can negatively impact your credit score, so try to keep your credit utilization below 30% of your available credit. 
  • Increase the length of your credit history: The longer your credit history, the better your credit score. To increase the length of your credit history, keep your oldest accounts open and avoid opening too many new accounts at once. 
  • Diversify your credit: Having a mix of different types of credit, such as credit cards, auto loans, and mortgages, can positively impact your credit score. 
Reach out to our team at AbbyBank with any questions on how you can better your credit score with our products!